The Wadesboro Town Council last week accepted a pair of grant-loans from the USDA — totaling $4.6 million — to replace and improve water lines and sewer pumps.
The water project will replace around 7000 feet of existing water main with new lines, and the sewer project will replace and upgrade two of the town’s existing sewer pump stations in order to better serve the sewer system and mitigate against any overflows that might occur, according to Town Manager David Edwards.
“There are numerous areas throughout the town that the project will impact, and the specifics are being planned and designed even now, but the town does not anticipate any customers’ water and sewer service to be affected during the project,” Edwards said.
He added that the effects for the town will be very positive – the ability to save money on maintenance for the existing aging infrastructure and the ability to focus town resources on other issues that may arise.
“Over the course of the next several months, our contracted engineering firm, LKC will be planning and designing the details of the work needed to be performed, when that is complete the project will have to be advertised as available to be bid on by contractors, which will be followed by the construction period,” Edwards said.
The water project funding is 53 percent grant and 47 percent loan, while the sewer project is 30 percent grant and 70 percent loan.
According to Edwards, municipalities apply to the USDA as if they’re applying for a loan. But depending on the agency’s funding, some parts can be awarded as grants.
The total amounts for both projects are $1.7 million in grants and $2.9 million in loans, which have a very low interest rate (2.375 percent fixed) and will be paid back over 40 years with no pre-payment penalty.
The terms of the agreement required the town to initially pay the first $19,000 of the project, which was expended previously on initial design documentation, surveys, and assistance with the grant application, Edwards said.
The projects were originally initiated in late 2015 by Alex Sewell, the former town manger, with the first real action being taken in early 2016 by selecting an engineering firm to draft proposed project estimates and to assist with writing the grant application.
The time since has been gathering documents and submitting applications/revisions.
“We are extremely thankful for the partnership with the USDA in providing us this opportunity to be a part of their program, the grant money that they are contributing to this project, as well as the very low-interest loan is going to help Wadesboro continue to serve its citizens at the highest level possible while maintaining a sound fiscal position,” Edwards added.